Finding Peace Through Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life: A Review

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Something about watching the films of Terrence Malick always puts me into a trance-like state, beyond the beautiful imagery present in his work to the philosophical outlook his films present on American life – with these qualities being most distinctive in his body of work, but The Tree of Life has always been another case scenario for myself. It clearly rings on all count that this is Terrence Malick at his most personal and also at some of his most thoughtful. It’s not unfamiliar for Terrence Malick to retain such traits all throughout his filmography for even those small traces were present in his early films but The Tree of Life presents yet another case scenario because it feels like everything that Malick had so subtly been building up in his filmography had finally found its own place here. You would only be repeating what is obvious if you were to say that The Tree of Life is a beautiful film because such imagery isn’t unfamiliar to the work of Terrence Malick, but here it creates a whole new aura – one that builds up to something of a greater scope. And the more it goes on, the more it keeps building – and the results are extraordinary.

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Shame is One of the Most Difficult Addiction Dramas Ever Made: Review

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As far as addiction dramas can go, Shame may play itself out in a straightforward manner but McQueen never holds back with showing the effects of such upon one’s one life. In this particular case, he focuses on the sex addiction of a New Yorker, whose life functions much like that of any other person you may know, but there is always a present sense of self-destruction here. As a follow-up to McQueen’s often difficult debut film Hunger, what Shame shows is another journey that still remains every bit as emotionally draining an experience – one that reflects a struggle that can only ruin your life all the more. Yet what makes McQueen’s vision ever so fascinating comes right from how he explores what provokes the very worst in these habits before they manifest themselves into something dangerous. If there’s anything else that makes McQueen’s film so beautifully resonant, it doesn’t limit itself only to being about sex addiction, but also about a sense of disconnect that continuously breaks people apart from one another – something that’ll only remain all the more prevalent in the days passing.

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Super 8 – Review

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J. J. Abrams’s Super 8 feels like a film that was made during the 1980’s, effectively evoking the mood of nostalgia that other films that came out during said era would have left on viewers since. It’s a film that is proud in itself of the era in which its storyteller had grown up within, where the films of Steven Spielberg (who also served as producer), Richard Donner, Robert Zemeckis, and John Carpenter among the lot would have become prominent and proven influential on many generations that have followed – and eager to show what it had learned. This habit of Abrams’s doesn’t come without any faults, but there’s a clear sense of passion coming out from the eyes in which it is being told from and it proves itself to be the most important factor as to why Super 8 works as is.

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Hanna – Review

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Joe Wright’s films come off to me as the sort that show off whatever is possible without offering much beyond that. I remember trying to watch Atonement for a history class and I was struggling just to stay awake, and his Pan film was just about one of the most awkward experiences for myself (I think the anachronistic soundtrack was already jarring enough whether it be the inclusion of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or the Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” that gave everything away for me) – and yet I find Hanna strangely enchanting. Quite frankly I also remember it as the first time I had seen Saoirse Ronan in anything, and her performance here was enough for me to say that Wright had opened me up to what seems missing from the action genre in this day and age. She doesn’t hold back and it only creates something all the more tense in Hanna.

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Margaret – Review

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Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret is a film that feels troubled at the center much like the history behind its release: going towards lawsuits that ultimately delayed its release until 2011 (it was scheduled for a 2007 release) along with several edits having been made, leaving no sense of a definitive vision behind. Yet with all this having been said, it still works beautifully and almost in a sense feels like a journey that mirrors its struggle to reach the big screen. But there’s something more to which it calls for by referencing a specific poem through its own title, through its final verse, “it is Margaret you mourn for.” The doom that Margaret would have almost found itself at the risk of facing is still present in hand, but to what degree is it paying off? In Kenneth Lonergan’s film, it could not ever be more affecting than what he shows us here. Perhaps it may be a mess, but it also reinforces what works so perfectly about Margaret.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Review

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I’ve never exactly been a huge Planet of the Apes fan (I do really enjoy the original film, even though the rest never did much for me) yet coming out of the theater from Rise of the Planet of the Apes back when it came out was a thrilling experience. Years of not having seen it only left me feeling that perhaps I was far more impressionable considering how perfectly the original Planet of the Apes film had managed to stand the test of time, and yet as I watched Rupert Wyatt’s reboot of the franchise in Rise of the Planet of the Apes for my first time since then – so much of the joy that I remember having felt seems to have faded away. That’s not to say I dislike Rise of the Planet of the Apes because I still enjoy it well enough as it is, but considering what has only come forth within the future, it doesn’t feel as exciting as it was back in 2011.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – Review

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Stylistically, a more appealing take on the same story compared to Niels Arden Oplev’s original interpretation and also a more compelling one at that. It’s worth addressing that I have a rather complicated history with Stieg Larsson’s original trilogy of books, for even with their convoluted storylines I still found The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo an ever-so-fascinating story, something that the original trilogy of films had failed to capture (I greatly dislike The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest with my original distaste of the book coming into play). The idea that David Fincher would go on to direct an adaptation of the same story was something that had me intrigued and what was captured in Fincher’s own take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo proved itself to become what I wanted out of the same story compared to the monotony of the original trilogy.

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Faces in the Crowd – Review

Something to Milla Jovovich’s presence can feel alluring when directors can use it in the right spaces, Faces in the Crowd never works around any of that at all nor does it even wish it can. Instead, we have every last ounce of that wasted in something so stupid, but it is never stupid enough to sustain even a laugh. Faces in the Crowd is a film whose stupidity is clear from how much it overreaches in many aspects (one of which even includes the title, almost sounding like the similarly titled and unrelated Elia Kazan film A Face in the Crowd). The degree of overreaching in Faces in the Crowd goes to show how quite a film is willing to let itself sink itself down even further, as the sheer inanity became more distinguishable than anything else about it. Continue reading →

Restless – Review

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Whenever I’m left to think of the films of director Gus Van Sant, I’m usually left off with a bad taste in the mouth with the exception of a few entries. At his very best, he can offer something rather fascinating but at his very worst, the work can feel so absorbed with what is forming it much to the point everything is absolutely unbearable. With Restless, it seems as if it’s that sort of case for it would be what one would expect from Gus Van Sant directing an indie romantic comedy – and everything already comes off in a more off-putting manner than ever. If the Psycho remake did not exist, this may very well be Gus Van Sant at his absolute worst as it may just as well be his most irritating film to date. Restless is a collection of everything that I absolutely hate about watching both Gus Van Sant at his very worst and these sorts of coming-of-age stories. Continue reading →

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Review

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For once, I’m gladly impressed with a Mission: Impossible film, for after having been left bitterly disappointed by Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol not only is a huge step up from its predecessor but it’s also the first that I would gladly be able to truly call a good film. Given what potential the films had, it’s finally rather nice to see that by the time Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had come along, the series had realized what it was capable of, and uses that to the very best of its own ability. Continue reading →